Bashagha: Ankara-Tripoli Memorandum Will Force Haftar Into Dialogue   – Al Marsad

The Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bashagha, said the GNA seeks to find a solution to the Libyan crisis with participation of all parties.

[Libya, 5 March 2020] – In an interview with Media Show TV program broadcast on Tunisian Radio ‘Mosaique FM’, on Wednesday, the boycotting member from Misrata of the House of Representatives, Fathi Bashagha affirmed the GNA’s willingness, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, to establish a state based on real criteria through confronting what he had described as “militias and armed gangs that kidnap and blackmail.”

He stated that all Libyans including officials in the eastern region are ready for reconciliation, claiming that what prevented reconciliation was the unreasonable aspirations of Haftar, in reference to the General Command of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and interference of foreign countries in Libyan affairs.

Bashagha pointed out to importance of the Tunisian role in the Libyan issue, believing that Tunisia must be close to this file because the situation in Libya directly affects Tunisia.

He believed that the success of Sarraj’s government to root out ISIS in Sirte and accomplishing stability have contributed to maintaining security stability in Tunisia. Also, he lauded the security cooperation between the two countries despite difficulties.

As for Tunisia’s absence from Berlin Conference, he noted that the Sarraj government had insisted on the participation of Tunisia in Berlin talks and in the main negotiations, but some countries refused that request, according to his statements.

He hailed the Tunisian positive role in tackling the Libyan issue, adding that “Since 2011, no country is treating Libyans better than Tunisia.”

Bashagha criticized continued military escalation despite the United Nations announcement of a ceasefire, expressing his regret for the resignation of Ghassan Salame, the UN Special Envoy to Libya who was subjected to great pressure due to the division among world countries, according to his description.

According to his claims, he stated that “The military aggression against Tripoli” (in reference to the advance of the armed forces to the capital) since last April, confused the political process and security stability, pointing out that what complicated the situation was the interference of regional and foreign countries.

On a question regarding the threat of the armed forces to control the border crossings with Tunisia, Bashagha said: “Haftar cannot control these crossings and he missed the opportunity last April.”

On the other hand, he pointed out that the activity in Mitiga Airport has continued, even though it was bombed, and the citizens’ interests were hindered specially those who move frequently between Tunisia and Jordan where they receive treatment. He noted that three planes had been damaged by the bombing.

Bashagha discussed the relationship between the GNA and Turkey, saying: “This memorandum aims to create a kind of balance and protect the capital and its residents from bombing and that this balance will force Haftar and everyone to go to the negotiating table.”

Speaking about the situation in Libya and Tunisia, Bashagha explained that the path of change in Libya was different from Tunisia, adding that the change in Libya was violent and not as it happened in Tunisia, which had strong and coherent institutions and was able, after liberation from colonialism, to build strong national and security institutions. Tunisia was unlike Libya, where the state institutions were not strong. He added that once the unrest occurred, the Libyans entered the cycle of violence and fighting, which was intensified by the intervention of some countries.

Regarding the disputes between the GNA and France, he said: “France changed its approach and policy towards Libya. It was supporting Haftar both politically and militarily, but now it only supports him politically and this is acceptable.”

Bashagha revealed that he will pay a visit during this month to France where he will meet high level officials and sign some agreements.

© Al Marsad English (2020)